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Come to the Jasmine
By Nizar Kabbani
I enter the courtyard of the Umayyad Mosque
and greet everything in it,
tile to tile,
and dove to dove.
I wander in the gardens of Kufi script
and I pluck beautiful flowers from the discourse of God.
I hear with my eyes the voice of the mosaics
and the music of agate prayer beads.
A state of revelation and bliss overtakes me,
so I climb the steps of the first minaret I encounter
and call out:
“Come to the jasmine,”
“Come to the jasmine.” *
*Come to Prayer, Come to Prayer” is part of the adhan, or the Islamic call to prayer, announced five times a day from mosque minarets.
Excerpt from Nizar Kabbani’s long poem “Ablution with Rose Water and Jasmine.” Translated from the Arabic by Ghada Alatrash